GARDEN CITY – Garden City’s old school could still be saved if City Council accepts a proposal from Dan Willingham and Nolan Bradford.
Appearing outside the City Council workshop on Monday evening, Willingham said he and Bradford would like to buy the school, land there and renovate the building, possibly for use as an event venue.
Willingham said he and Bradford loved historic buildings. The school, he said, “has a lot of vibe about it.”
The school was built in 1932 and closed in 2015. It has remained empty since, and in 2020 it became the property of the city by legislative act.
The council visited the building last year to get a feel for its condition and to assess options. At the time, they noted that the amount of work required was too costly. Since then, the building has continued to deteriorate.
Last month, the council voted to accept proposals to save the building.
Willingham and Bradford present another option, however. “I think it can be restored, but it’s going to take a lot of work,” Willingham said.
He said their initial plan would be to renovate the building, ensuring the exterior retains the historic character on the exterior while providing spaces inside for events such as weddings. He said they were also interested in adding walking trails on the property.
“You have a great asset there,” he said.
“We would like to use it to get people here in your community to spend money and see what your community is all about,” said Willingham.
He said it’s possible that the intended use could change as the work progresses, but said: “If the community doesn’t want what we want to do, we don’t want it.”
Councilman Butch Bradford said the council’s decision would depend on what is in the city’s best financial interest, but on the face of it, “it’s a much better option than tearing it down.”
“I can guarantee you it won’t fall off when we’re done,” said Nolan Bradford. “These old buildings, we can save them.
Before moving forward, council members said they would have the property appraised.
During the regular city meeting, council approved spending of $ 3,000 to fencing and cooling part of an existing building as a warehouse for the fire department’s medical supplies and parking for the medical supply truck. . During the summer months, the city has to throw away medical tape and other heat-damaged supplies. Fire Chief James Johnson estimated the city was losing about $ 15,000 in medical supplies each year due to the heat.
The board also heard complaints about Kingdom Collection placing items in front of the building that blocked site lines and interfered with maintenance of the right-of-way. Mayor Tim Eskew said he would send the owner a letter telling him to remove anything in the state’s right-of-way.
The council also approved funding for the annual celebration of freedom on June 27. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and the fireworks will begin after dark.
The council also held a public hearing Monday on the application for a community development grant (CDBG) for the improvement of the city’s sewerage plant.
Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 216.